A Soul At Rest

I just returned home from a long weekend at the Eastern Shore and am reflecting on my experience there. Moving from the fear around the hustle and bustle of shore life with all of its sights, sounds, and smells to the calm in my soul when watching wild ponies stampede across marshland. I have no idea what spooked them into running so fast from their leisurely wanderings in the marsh. But something scared them into running into the woods at a pace I could not keep up with even with my camera lens. What spooked these majestic horses? I don’t know. What caused them to seek shelter in the woodlands? I don’t know.

What I do know is what spooked me during this weekend. When I first arrived, I wanted to be a shore member. I wanted to be like the locals, I wanted to fit in. I wanted to eat a boat load of shell fish, grandma’s homemade donuts, and of course try every flavor at the Island Creamery. I wanted to be a normal eater. I thought “just this once won’t hurt me, I’m on vacation after all.” That began the litany of foods from my past that I would NEED to eat to prove to myself and others that I was a normal eater. I would need them to taste marvelous so that I fit in.

This was my first true vacation since coming into recovery with SHiFT and entire abstinence. I was not on a trip to visit extended family, or sitting by myself secluded in a cabin in the woods, I was in a shore town full of life and food. I wanted to be relaxed, calm, and care free. I was on vacation, after all. Vacation in the past for me involved thinking about and obtaining food almost constantly. Vacation was spontaneous, eat all you want, try all the local foods, a blend in kind of vibe. Vacation was away from any food plan or diet. It was “care free” and fun.

This vacation was different, though. While it began with the pull towards an abundance of local foods, it also involved moving into nature with a quiet whisper of wind on my face and the calm in my heart I so longed for on vacation. I reached out to my sponsor and fellows who directed me towards my Higher Power for strength. I left the clamors and pulls of shore-life food and spent the days watching a sunset, walking on the beach, and spending my last day at a wildlife refuge walking slowly and deliberately with my husband. Holding hands in silent reflection, pondering God’s creation and the true care-free peace in my heart and soul “tasted” marvelous. I sat and watched the wild ponies, not a care in the world for them or for me. I stayed there for over an hour and a half watching these creatures wander in the marsh, until they were gone, running wildly across the watery grasses to the shelter of the woodland. I too basked in the delight of my abstinence and ultimately sought refuge in my God.

As the ponies left, I was grateful for my abstinence on this vacation and the ability to truly show up and be present to my husband, to God, and to my beautiful surroundings. I was truly care-free and at peace. My soul was at rest with a God of my understanding. I did not just survived a vacation, I thrived on a vacation that became focused on what was true and beautiful. I didn’t need the foods of the shore, I needed peace in my heart. I needed a place I could finally be me, a soul at rest.

Lisa K

Let Freedom Ring

As I sit here in prayer this morning, on what in the United States is a holiday to commemorate the many war veterans who have given their lives for the freedoms I enjoy today, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude. I can very fondly remember visiting a friend who lived on a Marine Corp Air Station near the airstrip one summer. As we were seated outside on her back porch having a lovely conversation while our girls played in the grass, there were fighter planes taking off and flying overhead. Each time the noise was so great we had to pause our conversation and following the dimming of sound she would say, “ah, the sound of freedom.” I was annoyed at the noise interrupting our warm summer afternoon and the conversation of friends who were separated for long stretches of time due to her family’s commitment to the US Armed Forces. Upon reflection, I was in the height of my food addiction then, not understanding the concept of freedom in any capacity.

I was compelled to eat and eat and eat at any chance I had. I was bound to a life of binging to the point of sickness. I was numbing out my emotions with more and more food. I was not free. I was enslaved to a disease that was wreaking havoc on my mind, body, and soul. I had no idea what true freedom sounded like, I only knew my compulsion to more and more. I was depressed and lonely in a sea of friends and family who I hoped understood freedom more than my feeble mind could muster.

I longed for freedom, but never knew how to attain said state of mind. It wasn’t until a doctor so boldly proclaimed that I was committing suicide with food that I finally took the huge step towards food addiction treatment and ultimately true freedom. When I began at Shift Recovery by Acorn, I was a broken woman who only wanted the pain to stop. Well, over time that pain did stop. But, what else was there to be gained in recovery? Over the past 2 ½ years, I have come to know a freedom that resounds in my heart, mind, and soul. A freedom from food obsession, a freedom from depression, a freedom from judgment and scorn, a freedom from a life of victimhood and trauma, and a freedom to love God, myself, and others in a more profound way. Am I perfect at living these freedoms? No, I am not. However, I am regularly feeling these freedoms and so ever grateful for them. I now understand what freedom means and I strive to live them daily.

In a recent visual imagery exercise, God led me out of a burning cabin, down a wooded path, and onto a sandy beach at a lakeside. It was there that I was able to fully feel the freedom that recovery has given to me. I stood on that beach with my arms outstretched and head tilted back, exclaiming “I am free, I am free.” Yes, today I am free. May God continue to let this freedom ring in my heart, mind, body, and soul.

Today, is my third Memorial Day that I am truly free. What I would give to go back to that warm summer afternoon, a conversation with a friend, and the concept of freedom. I want to whole heartedly proclaim with my friend, “ah, the sound of freedom.” Today, I am very grateful to the families who have given their lives in service to the US Armed Forces in numerous ways for my freedom. I am also grateful beyond words for those who have shown me the way to freedom from the effects of food addiction. I pray today for both groups in my life because it is you that have let freedom ring in my entire being. Thank you, God for this freedom, may I remember it always.

Blessings to all,

Lisa K.

Lies Of Unworthiness


Who am I?


I stumble with the answer to this question. As I sit here thinking, “Who am I?” I can very vividly recall who I thought I was growing up. I grew up thinking “I am a big fat ugly pig who no one likes.” My so-called friends would play with me on occasion when forced by our moms, but always in private. At school, in front of others, I was ignored and left alone. I was an outcast and I started to hang out with the other “outcasts” among the student body. They became my friends, people who I could help. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and immigrants who barely spoke English. This began my helping for a living. I was someone at last, I was needed. In reality, it was them who helped me.

Fast forward to adulthood and I remained the fat ugly pig who felt unwanted. I shunned the Overeaters Anonymous crowd thinking I was better than them and they needed help. I came to learn 2 years ago that I was one of them and I needed help too. This helper became the client doing everything she was instructed until I became less fat and therefore, I hoped a little less ugly. I went on a quest to find a long mother-of-the-bride dress that would make me look thin & therefore pretty. I did find a dress but still felt fat and ugly in it, noting all of my flaws as I stood in the dressing room looking in the mirror. Following this find, two of my friends picked out a few knee-length form-fitting dresses for me to try on. Being the compliant friend, I tried them on and went along with the ruse to buy the dresses. All the while thinking, “don’t take the tags off because tomorrow I will return the dresses.” I further thought, “a fat woman like me doesn’t deserve to wear dresses like this.”

I returned home and the next day put on the dress for my husband, who immediately raised his eyebrows and commented, “you look beautiful.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He has never spontaneously commented on my clothes before. I started to think, “could he be right? Could I be beautiful?” When he left the room I stood before the mirror, something I used to avoid at all costs. I looked at myself and thought for the first time in my life, “I really am a beautiful creation of God.” I took this thought to God for several weeks during my morning meditation and 2-way prayer time, asking God if it was really true. I have slowly discovered that underneath what I saw as a roll of fat was a beautiful woman who longed to belong somewhere in the world. I am now discovering that my new body is only an outward sign of an inward reality. I am a beautiful woman of God. I’ve always been a beautiful woman of God, covered up by lies of unworthiness. My so-called “outcast” friends growing up knew my worthiness long before I could discover it for myself. They treated me like I belonged, I was truly loved and cared for by them.

So, who am I? I am a beautiful creation of God. I am a woman who deserves to feel pretty and beautiful in my dresses, no matter my shape or size. In fact, I have come to love my mother-of-the-bride dress and will wear it with love and dignity. I am worthy of recovery, friendship, and

love. I am no longer an “outcast” alone in this world, I am among my many recovery friends who are not “outcasts” either. We are all beautiful creations of God who belong in this world. We are wanted, not only by each other, but by a loving Creator. We really are beautiful creations of God, living our lives beyond our wildest dreams.


Lisa K

Happy New Me! Happy New You!

This is the time of year when we all look forward to the new year full of opportunities, hoping to grasp one or two of them for ourselves. We make New Year’s resolutions again hoping to become something better than before. What are those opportunities we hope come our way? What are the resolutions we make to hopefully gain a new body, health, wealth, relationships, etc. What I didn’t realize until recently reading through my past journal entries for January 1st of each year, is that two years ago my resolution was not one filled with hope, quite the opposite.

My journal entry for New Year’s Day 2021 was this … “I can barely look at myself in the mirror. It disgusts me. I see myself as fat and ugly. Food has become everything to me. I binge 6 plus times a day on fast food, chocolate, pasta, cheese sauces, and the list goes on. I eat food off of other people’s plates and out of the trash. I sneak and steal food any chance I get. I can see many negative consequences of my eating habits – mainly weight gain, disgust at myself, difficulty with sex, looking & feeling like a pig when at a buffet, numerous body pains, breathing difficulties, I can’t walk more than a few feet and need to take several breaks walking up 1 flight of stairs in the house. I can’t put on my own shoes and my clothes don’t fit. Food makes me loathe myself. Food is killing me. My body and soul are both dying very quickly and I don’t know what to do about it. Not even OA is working, so is there any hope at all? I don’t think so. I’m just going to die. That’s what my new year will be, my death.”

As I type out my journal entry here tears are streaming down my face. I very vividly recall that moment sitting in my room writing out my discouragement and defeat. I had no hopes that year, no opportunities to grasp, nothing good to work towards. I recall thinking “Happy New Year! What’s so happy about it?”

The next day, on January 2, 2021 at 335 pounds and with a defeated heart, my husband and I had a consultation with Amanda at Shift. She identified with me. She shared that she too had been where I was, yet she was sitting across the screen with a smile on her face and very much alive. She gave me a glimpse of hope that I didn’t need to die. I knew I wanted to live, but didn’t know how. Through that zoom call, I started to want recovery more than anything else in my life. I was willing to go to any length for freedom. If Amanda told me that I would have hope by standing on my head, by gosh, I would have tried my best. I probably would have broken my neck, but what did I have to lose anyway. By the end of the call, I committed to enter the SHiFT food addiction treatment program. Maybe I could have a Happy New Year after all.

This began my earnest journey towards a new me. With renewed hope I set out to do everything that was suggested by my Shift team of counselors, accountability coaches, sponsor, and other recovering members. I balked often and grumbled under my breath, but I was not giving up this time. I did it all anyways. I learned what it truly means to be powerless over a disease and to surrender to a loving God. At first my surrender was to others’ suggestions. I

quickly understood that my surrender to others was really a surrender to God through them. I used all of the tools available to me to keep going, even when I didn’t want to. I wanted recovery like I saw from so many others at SHiFT. I wanted to live and now I was learning how. By the end of that first year I was living a new life. A life with significantly less weight to carry around. A life with friends and family who support me. A life with less work and more time for recovery. A life with more time for my health. A life with a loving God who never leaves my side. A life worth living. Happy New Me!

My New Year’s resolution this 2023 year is to continue to share my experience, strength, and hope in any way I can. I want for others the same hope and recovery that I received. I can’t help but shout from the rooftops what God has done for me. The program he has given me to heal my defeated heart and my wounded body. God has grown my desire to love and given me the courage to share myself with others, especially those who are hurting in this fatal disease of addiction. My hope and prayer is that you too may experience a Happy New You!


Happy New Year!


Lisa K.

Holiday Nostalgia

According to Merriam-Webster, nostalgia is “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition”.

Before recovery, I had a hard time with feelings of nostalgia. They used to overtake me. They had the power to disconnect me from the present, so much so that I was taken into lack of acceptance of it. Yet no matter how fond the memories, those too were never “good enough”. Inevitably, I would end up focusing instead on what could have or “should have” been. My experience of nostalgia was a confused mess of happiness, sadness and frustrated desire.

Recently, while searching for something in a drawer, I came across an envelope of old Christmas photos. Most of them were of my brother and I, in the 1970’s. In some, we are seated under the tree, dressed in flannel and smiling with gifts strewn about. In others, we are dressed in our finest, seated at the holiday dinner table. Suddenly, I found myself revisiting certain memories, which caused in me great feelings of nostalgia.

I remembered one day, several weeks before Christmas, in the late 1970s. My mother took my brother and I shopping for art supplies, to make homemade ornaments with clay. We spent a whole day at the kitchen table, the 3 of us shaping our ornaments by hand, painting them, baking them and sealing them. I was so proud of the ones that were made with my own, two little hands. I remember hanging them every year, for years and years to come. Although those ornaments have long since crumbled into broken bits and gone, I still remember all that went into making them…

I remembered that every year (maybe until age 14), I’d spend an entire Sunday in December, in the kitchen with my father. With one fork and his hands, he magically transformed a heap of flour and fresh cracked eggs into golden pasta dough. He turned the dough into wide ribbons on an old, hand crank machine. My job was to keep both arms outstretched for the long ribbons to be hung upon, until they were transferred to a floured, wooden board and cut into sheets. He used the sheets to make pans of lasagna that were taken to the freezer for safe keeping, until Christmas Day. But he always, always, baked a personal sized one, just for me to have that evening. Although I have not eaten pasta in nearly 5 years, it’s not the pasta that I yearn for…

I remembered my mother singing carols and coming down the stairs, beautifully dressed for church on Christmas Eve. I remembered our yearly tradition of going to midnight mass, then coming home to feast while watching the 1951 version of“ A Christmas Carol”. I haven’t been to church in years and my mother’s fancy dresses and high heels have long been retired. She’s still beautiful of course but I love remembering her exactly as she was, her long, flowing black hair, her painted red lips and sparkling green eyes…

I’m so fortunate that my family is still intact. However, all these years later, my aging parents are not the same, our lifestyles are not the same and although I am grateful for where I am today, I can’t help but have moments when I look back with a sense of longing for the past.

Back then, I could not have predicted what I would carry in my heart more than 40 years later and I owe this entirely to my program of recovery. Recovery showed me how to see the past with a new lens, allowing me to experience both past and present in a balanced way. Recovery taught me to accept the present with gratitude and awareness that these moments will one day, most certainly be, irrecoverable.

Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday.

Much love,


Seasons Change

Two weekends ago was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.

Late Saturday afternoon, I headed out for a leisurely drive to my parents ’house. It was a glorious fall day, the country roads lined with trees, full with leaves of red, orange, purple and yellow. Fall had officially arrived 2 weeks prior but the trees were only now fully reflecting the change of season. Driving past, they moved fast in my periphery, like a slideshow and before I knew it, so too did the memories of Thanksgiving’s past.

During my childhood years, my family would travel to spend the long weekend with relatives. It was a huge gathering of extended family and yet, in all those years with all those people, I carry only one memory that rivals my food memories.

The Erin Fall Fair.

Erin was the name of the town in which my relatives lived. I remember naively thinking that I’d be coming to this fair, every year, for the rest of my life and that our Thanksgiving tradition would never die.

As the years moved forward, my family continued the traditional weekend away. My vivid memories are mostly of the food … the obligatory golden roast turkey… my elderly aunt’s annual mandarin salad contribution… and an endless array of home baked desserts, the pinnacle of my long awaited eating spree. But the beloved fall fair was still there and now teen romance was in the mix. Aside from the food, the most exciting time was nightfall, when just “the cousins” and our partners would head to the fair. My boyfriend and I walked hand in hand, stealing as many kisses as possible without the adults around. I remember naively thinking that for the rest of my life, I’d be holding hands with this boy and our long weekend tradition would never die.

Over the next 10 years, my family continued the traditional weekend away and while the fair was still there, some of my family members were not. Back then it just seemed like, “that’s life” and for me, nothing about the weekend itself had changed. By now, all of “the cousins” were in our 20s and I had met the man who would become my fiancée. I couldn’t wait to introduce him at Thanksgiving weekend and walk the fair with him. I remember naively thinking this was just the first of many years to come, sharing this long weekend tradition.

The following year, my relatives sold their home and moved to a big city. Some of “the cousins” had married, some had moved… suddenly, things had changed. I remember feeling such grief. I wished I’d known what would be our last Thanksgiving with all the cousins in that house, in the tiny Town of Erin, walking through the fall fair. I wished I could go back, to catch what I’d missed…to savour more than just the food.

Over the next 20 years or so, life moved on and I had cultivated quite a career in hospitality. I spent every Thanksgiving deeply involved at work. I was managing a high end bakery, working double shifts and missing out on all the family gatherings. The years were passing and as “they” say, the seasons of my life had changed.

As I pulled into my parents ’driveway, I was back in the present. I opened their door and stepped inside. No smell of turkey roasting or pies baking. No relatives visiting. My mother stood at the top of the stairs, her health not allowing her to come down and greet me as she always has. My dad welcomed me, his sore shoulders rendering him unable to help with my bags. Penny (our pug) was sleeping so sound, her age preventing her from even hearing me come in. There was no naïve thinking, things had changed.

In that moment I realized, each of us is in a different season and the seasons are always changing. I was reminded how much of my life I took for granted, how much of it passed me by while living in active addiction and looking beyond the moment. Thankfully, I am now living my life in a season of recovery. I can’t change the past (nor would I want to) but I can acknowledge what is made possible in my life, only through a program of recovery.

It turns out, this was our last Thanksgiving with sweet Penny the pug, she passed 2 days later. I am so grateful that recovery gives me the ability to be fully present, to focus on who and what is in my life, right here, right now. Recovery gives me access to all that comes from living in the moment, in turn, allowing me to peacefully weather whatever comes when the seasons change.